This is a guest blog from The Ultimate Songwriter
Being a freelance musician can be challenging at times, especially if you are new to it. Whether it’s issues that you face with clients or hurdles in the way of improving your skills, it takes time and effort to overcome these obstacles.
The Ultimate Songwriter has seen its fair share of challenges, and so the goal with this article is to be a metaphorical helping hand to anybody that’s starting out.
Here are some best practices to follow if you are, or intend to become a freelance musician!
Know Your Industry
Knowing the rates and deliverables in your industry will help you when discussing your rates and services with clients.
This may vary depending on the city and country that you live in, so the best thing to do is to do some market research. Get on Google, search for the relevant keywords including the city that you’re interested in e.g. “freelance guitarist Germany”.
Some people will list out their rates openly on their website. Alternatively, if you know anyone that is a freelance musician, simply reach out to them and enquire about their rates.
You may want to charge per project, or charge by hour, or maybe a combination of both. Our recommendation is to charge per hour for projects that have a more fluid timeline, and to charge per project when requirements of the project are well defined.
Discuss Requirements Before Discussing Rates
Often as a freelancer you get asked what your rates are from the get go, but you might under or over charge if you give a generic ballpark figure.
Keep in mind that not all work takes equal effort - it would serve you and your potential client to have a better understanding on the amount of time, effort and resources required to achieve the goals of the gig before revealing your rates.
Be Very Clear On What You Will Be Doing
Write down and agree with the client on the requirements of the project. Oftentimes, at different stages of the project, new developments might emerge that require your time.
Having a document that both parties have agreed to protects you from the changing list of requirements.
If a client requests for something that is outside of the agreement, that is your opportunity to discuss and adjust rates and timelines.
Display Your Portfolio
You might have done tons of gigs, performances, sessions, but if they’re all described in words, it’ll be challenging to showcase your true talent.
Nothing beats an actual display of your work. That might include you performing on stage, or as a session musician for a well produced song.
The next time you’re at a gig, ask if anyone could help you record some videos that highlight your performance. You might even want to hire an assistant whose sole job is to help you record you in your element.
Curate your best 5 pieces of work and put it on a website. If you don’t want to pay for a domain name, Notion’s free website, it’s that easy.
As a freelance musician, you’ll have opportunities to join recording sessions, to substitute another musician at a gig, to join a band to perform on stage, and more.
Getting used to playing in a band is an invaluable skill. You will pick up skills that are otherwise impossible to develop as a solo musician, such as taking turns to support and improvise interchangeably in songs, and communicating and sharing musical ideas.
If you’re new to playing with a band, and collaborating with other musicians, don’t worry, here are some best practices to follow.
Last Few Words
With these best practices, you should be in a stronger position as a freelance musician. All the best, know your worth, know when to walk away and keep making music!